UAS (‘School Project’) ‘Top Tips’
This web page was put together as the result of a suggestion made by the 2008/09 cohort to help future participants. Thanks to Katie Daniel, Jerusha Glavin, Lorna Jubb, Mhairi Kerr, Melissa Low, Katie Moore and Lucy Straker for their contributions.
Top tips …
…for the first 2 months of the UAS project before you go into school
Start writing up your project! Even in these early stages, notes can be made about the National Curriculum teaching and learning styles, intelligence theories, your school and the education system etc.
Read previous projects in order to get an idea of the approach that past students took.
Research education – try the internet and the Graduate School of Education, which has a very good library.
…about going into the school for the first time
Be pleasant! Ask the pupils and teachers questions all about the school – it may help when writing up the project later.
Make friends with the school technician! They know all about what the pupils should know and will help you prepare experiments, demos etc.
Get involved and talk to your school supervisor about trying out any ideas you have for your project.
Talk to pupils and teachers.
Help the teacher – offer your support etc.
Be assertive and keen and make clear that you want to get involved as much as possible.
Be aware of any recent changes to the education system that may affect your school.
Provide the teacher with an indication as to the route you may want to go down and how much input in lessons you wish to have. Some teachers are extremely organised and unless you specifically ask to help teach certain topics the opportunity may not arise.
…on starting the written project
Start ASAP! It is all about writing little bits at a time, then you won’t feel swamped with the mad rush at Easter and you can focus on exam revision.
Get the introduction and background reading out of the way first – it’s easy to write and boosts your confidence when writing up the results and methods etc.
Aim to have written a first draft on areas such as teaching and learning styles, intelligence theories and the education system in the UK before Christmas. Doing so this will benefit you when you come to write up your project and in your classroom observations.
If you struggle with certain areas ask for help. The Graduate School of Education has many people who are willing to help.
Get someone to read over your project to check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
…on the use of the reflective practice diary
Write down anything that comes to mind. You may have several different ideas about your project that can seem to change weekly but have lots to work with in your diary. Plus you will forget things that happened weeks before so it is handy to have as a back up.
Write up after each day in school on that day, rather than writing it a few days later.
Write it in a way that’s helpful TO YOU.
Write EVERYTHING down in it, not just the occasions when going into School. Maybe write the plan of your write up in it? A previous who only wrote the parts when they went into their school said it would have helped them if they had written the research they did, for example in the back of the diary.
Be aware of what you are looking for within the classroom. Have maybe 5 key points that you will be looking at in every lesson.
Don’t waste time writing your observations down in rough and then re-writing it up in neat.
Write down absolutely everything including any research that you do. If you are writing down research be sure to note down where your information is coming from. It makes writing up the project so much easier as you then don’t have to go and search for the source.
…for doing the presentation
Sit you housemates down and practice in front of them or practice with your project.
Don’t use cue cards and don’t cram your slide with too much detail.
Don’t try and be too clever and just do a simple presentation that will engage the audience – don’t bore them with heavy details!
Practice so you can talk it through without reading your notes/ the slides.
Don’t learn big extracts off by heart, just ad lib. Know the key points and then just talk around these points. It’s much easier this way, otherwise you’ll forget a line and then have no idea what to say.
Plan your presentation before you start writing it.
Aim to have the first draft done 2 days beforehand so that you can make any necessary corrections and think about areas you wish to talk about.
Strike a balance between what you say and what you put on your slides.
Be sure to do a run through to check your timing.
…on the best physical resources available
Teachers and pupils within the school.
Some revision guides depending on the year group you are teaching.
Tim Harrison’s practical demonstrations!
Graduate School of Education library
…on the best IT based resources available
Your school’s website
National Curriculum website
…on the best parts of the project (excluding it finishing!)
Boosts your confidence teaching within a school.
Much more interaction between the students on the UAS scheme than the lab based projects – you don’t feel so alone!
Teaching a class on my own.
Doing fun experiments with liquid nitrogen etc and seeing the pupils enjoying it.
Helping students when they are stuck with school work and seeing them understanding it after you have helped them.
Meet lots of different people, all ages and backgrounds.
Helping students who don’t understand things and seeing their reaction when they do. School lunches!!
…on the skills you should look to learn or develop during this project
Tailoring information to different audiences.
Being more confident when speaking in front of people.
Presenting demonstrations in an interesting way.
The confidence to address people of all ages and varying abilities, and in doing so being able to build up good presentation skills.
Becoming good friends with all the people in your group.
Teaching the pupils, especially if you helped them master a certain concept that they had previously struggled with.
Having the opportunity to present material to the students that I had designed and receiving positive feedback.
Other comments the UAS students wish to pass on to the next cohort
Start working as early as possible!
Talk to the teachers within the school – they are very helpful.
Talk to the other people on the scheme.
Don’t leave all the writing till the last minute as the deadline is quite close to the exams.
When doing your research at the beginning of your project write down any key websites/any good quotes etc you find and where you have found them so when you go to start writing your project you have a base for which to build on.
Make the most out of it.
Do as many activities as possible.
Start writing and knowing your project idea as soon as possible.
It may be a good idea to do the presentations before Easter as it helps to bring everything together and makes writing up easier.
Have fun with the project!